Fallbrook High School’s boys basketball team won its Avocado West League opener before losing its final nine games and finishing with a 6-21 overall record along with the 1-9 league figure.
The turning point of the season, according to Fallbrook coach John Kroeger, was a 48-hour period when injuries and illness took away four of Fallbrook’s varsity players who had a combined average of 36 points per game. “It completely changed the way we played,” Kroeger said.
The task fell on Fallbrook’s remaining players to salvage the season. “The guys that went down, they knew who they were, what they were capable of,” Kroeger said of his surviving team members.
Kroeger told those players that they would need to make changes. “Our guys bought in,” he said.
“We could have easily thrown in the towel,” Kroeger said. “Our boys stepped up.”
Fallbrook’s only league victory was at home against Rancho Buena Vista. The league match on the Longhorns’ court Feb. 1 was a 61-55 RBV victory, but that game ended after two overtimes. “We had chances to win,” Kroeger said.
During the second round of league play Fallbrook’s starters consisted of one senior, two juniors, and two sophomores. “We were very young by the end of it,” Kroeger said.
Although Fallbrook was not one of the 16 teams selected for the CIF Division I playoffs, the maxpreps.com rankings whose factors include strength of schedule placed Fallbrook 17th among the Division I teams. “We were really right on the outskirts,” Kroeger said.
The post-season coaches meeting at which the all-league teams were selected did not place any Warriors on the Avocado West League first team or second team, but the coaches granted honorable mention all-league status to junior Ben Huff and senior Garrett Maclean. “They both took a much bigger leadership role,” Kroeger said. “It was good to know that those other coaches respected how they played as much as I did.”